Well if you think that the gas prices are high in US then you are welcome to fill your car here in Sweden. If you have a large vehicle then I dont think you will have any money left for the ticket home. In Sweden the goverment doesnt subsidize instead they tax it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think that the tax is more than 80% of the total cost!! Now how about that before you start whining
Understandable. However, we're comparing apples and oranges. In North America, it is not uncommon for a person to drive >50km to work (x2 for a round trip). Multiply that by 5 days/week, add the wife's car, and you get the idea of just how much travelling does an average family do in a week (and that number doesn't include trips to the grocery store, picking kids up from soccer practice (or whatever), etc.). It adds up.
On top of that, there are lots of families in Canada (and I can imagine, the US) who own cottages some 200km from where they live, which they visit on, almost, weekly basis during the summer months. In order to get there, they have to have large vehicles (usually SUV or a minivan) with their 3.0L engines (at best). Plus, a lot of us N. Americans are lazy (i.e. we depend on our cars) so we use them all the time.
Also, Canadians are no strangers to driving from (for example) Ontario to British Columbia (5000km), or from Ontario to Florida (again 5000km). Now, tell me, how many Europeans do the same? How many of them rack up >40,000km every year? Even if they did, European 1.2L diesel engines will use up, by far, a lot less fuel than my 3.0L V6 that requires premium fuel.
Now, one can say that it is our fault that we depend on our cars so much, but it is not something we can control. It is how most of us were brought up and what we're used to.
P.S. One good thing that will come from all this is that the car companies will start to think about introducing more hybrid vehicles. Congratulations to Toyota (mainly) and other Japanese manufacturers for working hard on developing and improving hybrids.